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What are the Prospects for Professionalizing Event Management in the UK?

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Cherelle Kerr

on 24 April 2017

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Transcript of What are the Prospects for Professionalizing Event Management in the UK?

"What are the Prospects for Professionalizing Event Management in the UK?"
Academic literature contains three broad approaches to understanding professionalization:
Literature Review -
Perspectives on Professionalism and Professionalization
Rhodri Thomas:
Research Method and Design
1. To review current literature on the professionalizing of occupations.

2. To critically evaluate three models of professionalism

3. To assess the goals and strategies of the three main professional associations that operate in the UK and one that is emerging.
Main Aim:
1. What do you think the purpose of an association is, and would you consider joining one?

2. What other methods could you suggest, to professionalize the events industry?

3. Is professionalism in event management a vital requirement?

Discussion Points:
By Rhodri Thomas and Huw Thomas

Huw Thomas:
To examine the nature and degree of professionalization in event management.
The Trait Approach
Demonstration of expert knowledge, validated by existing members of the profession; ethical behaviour is safeguarded and regulated by the professional association; and the skills of members of the profession are deployed in the public interest.
Corporate Professionalization:
Credentials which emphasise competences, knowledge and experience; associations with tiers of membership; legitimacy of associations to make claims about the professional status of the occupation; strategies tend to be international rather than national in orientation.
Occupational closure and control:
Focuses on the ability to control access to a particular kind of work and the capacity to ‘police’ standards.
A reader at the School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff University.

Has a long standing interest in professionalism within planning and other occupations.

He has a particular interest in the role of value discourse in professional life and in public policy more generally.
The Authors
Originally trained as an economist

Now engages in multidisciplinary research in the context of tourism and the events sector.

He is a professor of Tourism and Events Policy at the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality - Leeds Metropolitan University.
AEME. (2017). About AEME. [online] Available at: http://www.aeme.org/about [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].

Bladen, C., and Kennell, James. (2014). "Education the 21st Century Event Management Graduate: Pedagogy, Practice, Professionalism, and Professionalization". Event Management. 18. pp. 5-14

Brown, S. (2014) ‘Emerging Professionalism in the Event Industry: A practitioners Perspective’. Event Management. 18(1). pp. 15-24. [Online] Available at: https://doi-org.ezproxy.herts.ac.uk/10.3727/152599514X13883555341760 [Accessed: 12 April, 2017].

BVEP. (2014). A report on the size and value of Britain’s events industry, its characteristics, trends, opportunities and key issues. [online] Available at: https://www.businessvisitsandeventspartnership.com/news/bvep-press-releases/242-bvep-launches-events-are-great-britain-report [Accessed 30 Mar. 2017].

Getz, D. and Wicks, B. (1994). "Professionalism and Certification for Festival and Event Practitioners: Trends and Issues". Festival Management & Event Tourism. 2 (2), 103-109.

Kashef, T. E. (2015). “What is the Value of Event Management Education? The Views of Six Industry Practitioners.” Event Management. 19(1). Pp. 1-13

Muzio, D., Hudgson, D., Faulconbridge, J., Beaverstock, J., & Hall, S. (2011). Towards Corporate Professionalization: The Case of Project Management, Management Consultancy and Executive Search. Current Sociology, 59(4). pp. 443-464

Rogers, T. (2008) Conferences and Conventions. A global industry. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Ryan, W. G. (2016). "How Do You Do Event Management Education? A Case Study of Event Management Higher Education Awards". Event Management. (20), pp. 69-80

Thomas, R. and Thomas, H. (2013) "What Are The Prospects For Professionalizing Event Management In The UK?". Tourism Management Perspectives. 1(6) pp. 8-14.

Yelloly, M. and Henkel, M. (1995) Learning and Teaching in Social Work: Towards Reflective Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Data gathering included semi-structured interviews with members from Event Associations, emerging Event Institutes and Trade Professionals from different fragments of the sector; as well as secondary sources.
Event Associations & Emerging Institutes:

Senior Figures – ABPCO & MPI
Senior Figures – IEM

Senior Figures – Eventia
Other Event Sectors:
Festival Organisation Senior Figures - AFO & BAFA
Senior Officials - AEME & LAEOG (via e-mail exchange)

Web sites,
Association Reports,
Official Documents
Has the paper achieved its aims and objectives?
2. Current Strategies:
A Case of Corporate Professionalisation
Event Professionalisation:

• Low Membership Rates

• Not Entirely Representative of Events/All Events

Preliminary Assessment of Institute Strategies:
• Flexible Membership Approach

• Knowledge over experience

• Requirement of ‘fit’

Lack of Confidence on Future Direction:
• “I haven’t got an off-pat answer… the question makes me realise I should”

– Interviewee 7

• “…Professionalism really means being able to deliver the desired product on time, on budget and with the desired outcome…”

– Interviewee 3

• “(professionalism is about)…people coming away thinking that was nice…but actually (thinking) that was completely and absolutely worthwhile…”
– Interviewee 1

Lack of ‘construction and sharing knowledge’ resources and ‘best practice’ processes:
“I couldn’t put my finger on anything in particular… in real terms we do… as an association have influence over the way the event industry is governed and monitored… but no specific influence over anyone in particular”

– Interviewee 5

Institute of Event Management (IEM):
• Classical conception of a Professionalised sector

• Professional development

• University Programmes

Main Points:
1. Creating and Promoting a Collective Identity
Emergence of Event Management in the UK is Relatively New:

"You could probably say really it's since 1970ish is when the first of these professional bodies and societies were formed"
- Interviewee 2

Growth of Event Management Education
• The conception and growth of degree level courses in event management

• The UK Centre for Events Management (Leeds Metropolitan University) launched the first events management degree in the UK in 1996

• Association for Events Management Education (AEME) was established in 2004
The Collaboration of Various Representative Associations
The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP)
• Aims to provide 'one voice' on matters relating to planned events

• Incorporates the views of supplies, trade and professional associations and national tourism marketing organisations

• It has promoted the value of events to the British economy

Main Points:
Two Principal Factors;
• The Relationship between academics and practitioners, especially leading trade or professional associations, help to establish a coherent identity

"I think the first degree programme in event management was what brought the terminology 'event management' to people's awareness" -
Interviewee 2

Event management associations in the UK have failed to deliver the outcomes of professionalization.

Despite the growing number of event management graduates, few are turning to event professional associations to advance their careers.

While the sector is showing concern towards commercial practice and knowledge creation and sharing, they are still vastly underdeveloped.

The conclusive finding from the article was that there little basis to support the professionalization of event management.

Later research by Brown (2014) also made a similar conclusion.

The Event sector in total is worth £39.1 billion to the British Economy (BVEP, 2014).

However estimating the size of the industry in the UK is difficult because of the lack of consensus on its foundations and parameters.

Getz and Wicks (1994) proposed that event management was emerging as a “quasi profession”.
To review current literature on the professionalizing of occupations
To critically evaluate three models of professionalism

To assess the goals and strategies of the three main professional associations that operate in the UK and one that is emerging.
The Main Issues
Sample Size:
Those interviewed do not represent all the event associations currently in the UK
Data Collection
Although a majority of the interviews were semi structured, towards the latter stages of the research, interviews were conducted via email exchange rather than face to face or by telephone.
Lack of Consensus, Support and Understanding
Professionals in the sector lack consensus and understanding due to the fragmentation of the industry, leading professionals to unrecognised association bodies who aim to solidify the sector.
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